Ramblings: New Faces in New Places – Deadline Fallout (Feb 26)

Dobber

2020-02-26

Cam was just kicking off the writeup for today’s Ramblings when something came up and he had to bail. So here I am! But first, I’ll paste the tidbit that he did manage to get done (other than his intro and the start of his next point):

 

Vincent Trocheck to CAR

I love this deal for the Hurricanes. Hell, I love a ton of what Carolina has been doing of late. I firmly believe that they have some of the very best pro and amateur scouts in the business. They targetted a cost-controlled, effective second-line pivot and brought him in without sacrificing any A-prospects, draft picks, or core players from their lineup. 

Trocheck will immediately slide into the departed Erik Haula's spot on the team's 'third line'. If you're asking me though, this is the second line. Trocheck between Nino Niederreiter and rookie, Martin Necas is a slick unit with a lot of play-driving potential.

Trocheck has been a 50ish-point pace player for four of the last five seasons. That one-off was a 75-point affair in 2017-18. My expectation is that he should fall somewhere in the middle longterm in Carolina. The 26-year-old will need to carve out a spot on the top power-play unit – something that didn't happen in his first game with the new club, in order to hit the lofty numbers. 

Regardless, I like this for him, the Canes and the fantasy landscape. 

It turns out that Cam was right. That was indeed the line combo – and the line was arguably the most dominant. All four Carolina lines were dominant, completely controlling the game. But Anton Khudobin stole the game. Literally highway robbery. Would Carolina have won that game with Robin Lehner in net? Yep. Absolutely. For the Hurricanes to have James Reimer out long-term, and Petr Mrazek out "questionable" (they say it's not serious but it sure as hell looked serious to me), they really want to put their fate in the hands of Alex Nedeljkovic? Anton Forsberg? Really? When the playoff race is this tight? I mean – Vegas was a Cup contender, clearly in the playoffs…and they still went after Lehner because it meant increasing their odds of a Cup by a few percentage points. Carolina has a great core, they addressed issues on defense…but they couldn't give up a backup goalie in exchange for Lehner? Vegas was creative in adding the Leafs in on that deal to help with the cap hit. So this is on Carolina management, their capologist, and their analytics department for not having the same creativity.

Anyway, here were the line combos with Trocheck in the lineup

Freq EV – FORWARDS CF CA CF%
24.6% AHO,SEBASTIAN – SVECHNIKOV,A – TERAVAINEN,TEUVO 14 7 66.7
22.3% NECAS,MARTIN – NIEDERREITER,N – TROCHECK,VINCENT 8 1 88.9
17.1% DZINGEL,RYAN – MARTINOOK,JORDAN – MCGINN,BROCK 6 4 60.0
15.4% FOEGELE,WARREN – STAAL,JORDAN – WILLIAMS,JUSTIN 8 3 72.7
3.4% FOEGELE,WARREN – MCGINN,BROCK – STAAL,JORDAN 2 2 50.0

I think they stick with these lines. They just ran into a hot goalie.

Sami Vatanen is still sidelined, but Brady Skjei was in the lineup and paired up with Jaccob Slavin, who still manned the top PP unit.

On the flip side, this of course means that Dallas forward lines were getting beat at every turn. That didn't stop Roope Hintz from posting three points and Denis Gurianov with two. Again – Carolina GM Don Waddell is going to screw his team out of the playoffs because he didn't get creative with a Lehner deal. This was more important than Vatanen or Trocheck (not Skjei – he was very important too).

With those three points, Hintz now has seven in his last nine games. And 18 in his last 27.

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There were so many games Tuesday that I seriously have to be brief – I really want to touch upon the newcomers and their impact. Here we go…

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Cory Schneider…won?

It's true – he did. He stopped 27 of 28 shots too. Of course, the Devils were playing one of the few teams weaker than they are in Detroit. But a win is a win. In the AHL he gave up 18 goals in his first four games there. After that he gave up 19 in his next 10 games. The confidence might be returning. But just to be safe, if I'm New Jersey Coach Alain Nasreddine, I stick to just the Detroit and Ottawa games for now!

Line combos without Wayne Simmonds in the NJ lineup:

Freq EV – FORWARDS CF CA CF%
21.9% HISCHIER,NICO – HUGHES,JACK – PALMIERI,KYLE 4 10 28.6
20.7% BRATT,JESPER – GUSEV,NIKITA – ZACHA,PAVEL 10 8 55.6
20.1% HAYDEN,JOHN – MCLEOD,MICHAEL – ROONEY,KEVIN 7 5 58.3
14.2% ANDERSON,JOEY – WOOD,MILES – ZAJAC,TRAVIS 6 8 42.9

So Hughes is now on the top line, Gusev has finally shed Zajac, and Zacha finally has some great fellas to play with. Zacha's improvement in production this season has been subtle, but if he's going to be playing with Gusev then it could really jump. Hopefully not in an obvious way because in keeper leagues I think I want to target him this summer. He passed his breakout threshold back in October and since that is not an exact science – him breaking out now shouldn't surprise. He has 10 points in his last 13 contests.

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The Calgary Flames did indeed maintain their strategy of a four-forward PP unit and Erik Gustafsson was indeed the quarterback in that scenario. But what didn't work in Chicago (as I noted in the trade breakdown – he didn't do well in four-forward units), so far is working in Calgary. He assisted on the only PP goal the team scored.

But how about Mikael Backlund. Where did this guy come from? Three points Tuesday and he now has 15 points in his last 10 games.

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Boston had a new face in the lineup – Nick Ritchie. He played with Charlie Coyle and Anders Bjork, but that line was getting beat badly so we switched with Jake DeBrusk and played with David Krejci and Karson Kuhlman. Ritchie was minus-2 and the entire team was pretty much asleep all game (even Brad Marchand called them "sleepy" after the game). Gotta give Ritchie a Mulligan for his first game, but he is not off to a good start.

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Tyler Toffoli continues to fly. And it's made the Canucks so much better. The top line maintains its production thanks to his subbing in for the injured Brock Boeser. Toffoli has a point in each of his three games with the team, and five points altogether. So is this another Robby Fabbri type of hot streak that will fade as the new-team adrenalin wears off? Stay tuned.

Thatcher Demko stopped 37 of 40 in his first game starting with Jacob Markstrom out.

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Just an interesting tidbit, and obviously too risky to act on for now… Jordan Weal keeps getting scratched from Montreal's lineup. But when he does play, he actually has six points in seven games.

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The Leafs did nothing at the trade deadline and after watching Saturday's game I was kind of pulling for Kyle Dubas to send a message to the team by trading a couple of their stars in exchange for defense, grit and leadership. But the enigmatic Leafs actually bounced back from that horrific game and beat the best team in the league and the hottest team at any point this season.

It looks like the Denis Malgin experiment is winding down already. No results yet, when playing him with John Tavares. And unless they try him with Auston Matthews, he's pretty useless to have in the lineup. He's not a checker. After giving up possession time and again, Malgin was removed from the line in favor of Zach Hyman

Steven Stamkos left the game with what has been reportedly bothering him for some time now. No word beyond that, but he has points in 15 straight games. Here were Tampa's line combos with newcomers Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman (who has been there for a week or so):

Freq EV – FORWARDS CF CA CF%
22.7% CIRELLI,ANTHONY – COLEMAN,BLAKE – KILLORN,ALEX 8 6 57.1
17.4% KUCHEROV,NIKITA – POINT,BRAYDEN – STAMKOS,STEVEN 7 7 50.0
9.9% GOODROW,BARCLAY – JOHNSON,TYLER – PALAT,ONDREJ 1 4 20.0
8.7% GOURDE,YANNI – MAROON,PAT – PAQUETTE,CEDRIC 4 2 66.7
7.6% KUCHEROV,NIKITA – PALAT,ONDREJ – POINT,BRAYDEN 2 2 50.0

As you can see, Goodrow was with Palat and Johnson, but as soon as Stammer left Palat moved up to the big line.

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If your league counts shots allowed, Alexandar Georgiev has faced 115 of them in his last three games. He's stopped 109 of them, so he's been playing well.

NY Islanders line combos with J-G Pageau in the lineup. He scored, but as you can see he is not on a line that exactly promotes offense. Bailey hasn't been the same since Tavares left, and to me Dal Colle is still a fringe NHLer. This line really drove possession though, and I think that is Pageau's impact…

Freq EV – FORWARDS CF CA CF%
28.4% BARZAL,MATHEW – EBERLE,JORDAN – LEE,ANDERS 24 15 61.5
21% BAILEY,JOSH – DAL COLLE,M – PAGEAU,J-G 16 6 72.7
17% BEAUVILLIER,A – BRASSARD,DERICK – NELSON,BROCK 6 8 42.9
7.9% KOIVULA,OTTO – KOMAROV,LEO – MARTIN,MATT 5 6 45.5

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Kevin Hayes has six points in his last four games, thanks to a three-point effort Tuesday.

The Sharks lineup looks strange these days, between all their injuries and the recent trades. But you'll notice one familiar name there Tuesday night that you haven't seen in a while – Logan Couture has returned. He played with Evander Kane and Kevin Labanc, but was held pointless.

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Ilya Kovalchuk was indeed put on the third line, as I opined in his trade breakdown. And Richard Panik was moved to the fourth line which sent Brendan Leipsic to the press box. Kovalchuk was put on the second PP unit to balance out the two units. Kovy was pointless and minus-2 in the contest, but his line actually drove possession. Here are the numbers:

Freq EV – FORWARDS CF CA CF%
27% KUZNETSOV,EVGENY – OVECHKIN,ALEX – WILSON,TOM 18 17 51.4
21.8% BACKSTROM,NICKLAS – OSHIE,T.J. – VRANA,JAKUB 11 18 37.9
19.8% ELLER,LARS – HAGELIN,CARL – KOVALCHUK,ILYA 12 10 54.5
15.3% DOWD,NIC – HATHAWAY,GARNET – PANIK,RICHARD 12 5 70.6

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The pressure is off Corey Crawford. The net is his. It's all his. So let's go out and shit the bed, shall we? Crawford coughed up six goals on 37 shots, blowing a couple of two-goal leads in the third period. Why oh why did Chicago trade Lehner? And for so little! Hockey politics have to be at play here…

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Zach Sanford had a three-point game. So did his linemate Robert Thomas, but let's get back to Sanford. He's really solidifying his place on a scoring line so it will be interesting when Vladimir Tarasenko returns. Sanford has 19 points in his last 20 games and is plus-16 in that span with 46 SOG. He also has 44 Hits! His Pts/60 in those 20 games too.

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Darcy Kuemper returned to the Arizona lineup and stopped 24 of 26 shots in the loss. The Coyotes just can't score. They should go after a couple of proven big-name scorers. Oh wait…

Florida line combinations with Erik Haula on the team:

Freq EV – FORWARDS CF CA CF%
25.2% ACCIARI,NOEL – SCEVIOUR,COLTON 13 15 46.4
24.4% BARKOV,ALEKSANDER – DADONOV,E – HUBERDEAU,J 15 13 53.6
18.6% CONNOLLY,BRETT – SAARELA,ALEKSI – WALLMARK,LUCAS 9 9 50.0
18.2% HAULA,ERIK – HOFFMAN,MIKE – VATRANO,FRANK 6 13 31.6

That's a pretty good line for Haula and it produced Florida's even-strength goal. But as you can see they gave up an inordinate amount of chances. By the way, the line with only two players – that one has defenseman Mark Pysyk on it.

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And now the lineups we’ve been waiting for – Edmonton and Anaheim. The Oilers have Andreas Athanasiou, Mike Green and Tyler Ennis joining them. The Ducks have Sonny Milano, Danton Heinen and Christian Djoos. None of the newcomers made much of an impact…unless you consider scoring pretty much all the important goals in the game an "impact". First, the line combos:

Freq EV – FORWARDS CF CA CF%
25.7% ARCHIBALD,JOSH – DRAISAITL,L – NUGENT-HOPKINS,R 8 7 53.3
25% ATHANASIOU,A – ENNIS,TYLER – MCDAVID,CONNOR 8 7 53.3
15.8% HAAS,GAETAN – KHAIRA,JUJHAR – RUSSELL,PATRICK 5 3 62.5
8.6% CHIASSON,ALEX – GRANLUND,MARKUS – SHEAHAN,RILEY 2 4 33.3

Kailer Yamamoto is out two to three weeks with an ankle injury, so the RNH -Draisaitl line was given Archibald in his place. Why don't these things get announced on Monday when we have to set our lineups?

Ennis and Athanasiou were on the McDavid line and they had two points each, with McDavid tallying three. Can you imagine the team when Yamamoto is back helping out that second line? I think Ennis would get knocked back to the third line with Zach Kassian is back, but maybe not if he keeps scoring like this…

This is weird – Mike Green was given absolutely no power play time. Ditto for Ennis. And Athanasiou was only given 32 seconds. But Ethan Bear was out for 3:48. I suspect this was the coach wanting the new guys to learn the system first. But keep this in mind for this week.

Anaheim's line combos:

Freq EV – FORWARDS CF CA CF%
21.7% HEINEN,DANTON – HENRIQUE,ADAM – SHERWOOD,KIEFER 8 10 44.4
17.9% GETZLAF,RYAN – MILANO,SONNY – RAKELL,RICKARD 9 9 50.0
16.5% AGOZZINO,A – DESLAURIERS,N – ROWNEY,CARTER 11 6 64.7
16% JONES,MAX – SILFVERBERG,JAKOB – STEEL,SAM 5 5 50.0

Well, I was wrong and Heinen was not thrown on the Getzlaf line. Instead it was Milano. And seeing as how Milano scored twice including the OT winner, methinks he stays on that line for a bit. Heinen did get an assist though and saw more PP time and overall ice time than Milano.

Also noteworthy – Christian Djoos saw 3:04 of PP time. I looked at his game logs for his entire career. Only once in the last two years has he seen even one minute of PP time in a game. And you have to go back to November 10, 2017 for the last time he saw more than two minutes in a game. It is the second-highest PP time that he's had in an NHL game in his entire career. The Ducks really are experimenting, as I said in the breakdown articles.

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Anyway, it's late, I had a couple of late nights already thanks to the deadline. I'll wrap this up now. But not bad for winging it last minute, eh?

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See you Monday.

UPCOMING GAMES

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STARTING GOALIES

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HOT PLAYERS

  Players Team GP G A P
EVGENI MALKIN PIT 5 4 7 11
ADAM FOX NYR 4 1 6 7
JAKUB VORACEK PHI 6 0 10 10
NATHAN MACKINNON COL 5 2 6 8
MIKA ZIBANEJAD NYR 29 25 19 44
NIKITA KUCHEROV T.B 24 16 20 36
KEVIN FIALA MIN 11 9 7 16
KYLE CONNOR WPG 7 8 2 10
EVANDER KANE S.J 7 5 5 10
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS EDM 17 8 16 24

LINE COMBOS

  Frequency CGY Players
31.3% MIKAEL BACKLUND ANDREW MANGIAPANE MATTHEW TKACHUK
25.4% JOHNNY GAUDREAU ELIAS LINDHOLM SEAN MONAHAN
19.6% DILLON DUBE MILAN LUCIC DEREK RYAN

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